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USA – Alaska

The Last Frontier

11 June to 26 June 2017

Leaders: Simon Boyes and Ray Tipper

Maximum of 12 clients.

2017 Cost £6,475 single room supplement £1,175

Alaska can justifiably claim to be North America’s ‘final frontier’. This massive landmass of well over 550,000 square miles is the most northerly and largest state in the USA. The scenery can be described as awe inspiring and certainly amongst some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. Alaska has breathtakingly beautiful and dramatic scenery and is a remote wilderness of ice-blue fjords, vast forests, towering snow-capped mountains (including the gigantic Mt. McKinley) remote tranquil bays and wide-open stretches of tundra. It was formerly part of Russia and was sold to the USA in 1867 – in the misbelief that it was worthless. Since then gold was discovered, creating a ‘Gold Rush’ and causing a previously uninhabited land to become quite heavily populated. This massive US state has several time zones, and has a climate that at best can be called challenging, with short summers and extremely cold winters. However, its wildlife can be described as some of the richest on Planet Earth, with millions of birds spending their summer here to breed and taking full advantage of the abundant food supply. We begin the tour in Anchorage visiting well known birding sites such as Westchester Lagoons, where species could include Hudsonian Godwit and Red-necked Grebe. We then travel to Nome, a small town surrounded by tundra, whose location lies just below the Arctic Circle, is our next venue, where we shall enjoy watching the abundance of shorebirds which breed on the open tundra – both American and Pacific Golden Plovers, Semipalmated Plover, Black Turnstone, Semipalmated and Western Sandpipers and the rare Bristle-thighed Curlew. As well as the wealth of shorebirds, the avifauna includes a rich variety of other species, including Surf and Black Scoters, Pacific and Red-throated Loons (Divers), Rough-legged Hawk (Buzzard), Gyrfalcon, Aleutian Tern, Arctic Warbler and Fox Sparrow. Next we travel south to the Kenai Peninsula, where we look for Varied Thrush, Townsend’s Warbler, and White-winged Crossbill. We take a boat trip into the Kenai Fjords National Park from Seward to experience a marvellous variety of seabird species. The diversity of breeding auks is quite unique – from Horned Puffins to Marbled Murrelets and there is also the possibility of some fine sea mammals, which could include Orca, Humpback Whale and Steller’s Sea Lion. The holiday then reaches a magnificent conclusion at Barrow in the High Arctic, where the vast stretches of tundra are ideal habitat for Red (Grey) Phalaropes, Baird’s and Pectoral Sandpipers, Sabine’s Gull, Pomarine Skua, Snowy Owl, Snow Bunting and King and Spectacled Eiders, in fact all four species of eider are possible

A superb wilderness birding adventure in Alaska! The holiday will be run in conjunction with Avian Adventures.

Further Info
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Outline Itinerary
Day 1 Fly to Anchorage
Day 2 Anchorage
Days 3-6 Nome
Day 7 Anchorage
Days 8-9 Seward
Day 10 Homer
Day 11 Anchorage
Days 12-13 Barrow
Day 14 Anchorage
Day 15 Depart Anchorage
Day 16 Arrive London